Legal age for smoking could be raised to 21 among ‘radical’ measures to tackle the habit

8 June 2022, 13:56

More must be done to help smokers in hospital kick the habit, a new review has concluded
More must be done to help smokers in hospital kick the habit, a new review has concluded. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Radical plans to slash the number of smokers in Britain are expected to be unveiled this week, including a proposal to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

A review commissioned by health secretary Said David and Javed Khan, the former chief executive of Barnados, is expected to arrive tomorrow as the government aims to reduce the number of smokers in Britain to 5 per cent of the adult population by 2030.

An industry source told the Guardian that measures in the review are ‘very radical’.

It is also understood to include a tobacco levy and increasing the purchase age of cigarettes every 12 months, with the aim of eventually banning sales altogether.

In an interview before his review, Mr Khan warned the target to have just 5% of people smoking by 2030 would not be met without action from the government to restrict sales.

Read more: 'Thunder fever' warning as remnants of tropical Storm Alex arrive ahead of summer heatwave

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Tackling issues such as smoking is a priority for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and a key part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

“This is why we launched the independent review of our bold ambition to make England smoke free by 2030.”

A review released today found more must be done to help smokers in hospital kick the habit.

It found that less than 1% of smokers manage to quit after a hospital stay.

The British Thoracic Society's (BTS) audit of hospital-based services which help people quit smoking found that "little" progress has been made to help smokers who are in hospital get the help they need to quit.

Read more: Woman wakes from coma to find fiancé ghosted her and moved on with someone else

The authors warned that opportunities have been missed to help improve the health of sick smokers and reduce premature deaths.

The review examined data on 120 hospitals from across the UK and found:

  • One in five hospitals still offer dedicated smoking areas for patients
  • Only 9% of smokers received an assessment with a smoking specialist while in hospital
  • Only 5% were given a quit aid.

The review found that of 2,400 people who smoked and were admitted to hospital, just one was given a vaping kit.

The authors said just 3% of smokers admitted to hospital attended a follow-up service to check on their quit attempt after they were sent home from hospital.

And less than 1% were recorded to be "successfully abstinent post discharge", the authors wrote.

They also suggested that hospital staff are "ill prepared to support current smokers in their efforts to quit", with only half of trusts offering frontline staff regular training in helping people stop smoking.

Dr Matt Evison, BTS clinical audit lead, said: "This audit unfortunately shows that we are still struggling to make meaningful progress in helping patients quit smoking at a national level.

"While the results are disappointing today, I am looking at this audit as the start - the baseline against which we now need to improve."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Cases of cryptosporidiosis have doubled

Local MP says 'heads will roll' over Devon water parasite crisis, as confirmed cryptosporidium cases double

Vera and Dan

Brits take personal security ‘into their own hands’ as crime concerns soar amid fears police have 'lost the streets'

Yvette Fielding said that Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her

Yvette Fielding claims Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her while she was hosting Blue Peter as a teenager

Rachel Reeves has said that rent caps could be allowed to be set

Labour 'could allow rent caps', Rachel Reeves says - but shadow chancellor warned that 'landlords would leave in droves'

Justice Department Boeing Explainer

Boeing shareholders approve chief’s compensation as company faces investigations

Shani Louk (left), Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.

'No father would want to hear this': Shani Louk's family speak out after Nova festival victim's body discovered in Gaza

Maths teacher Rebecca Joynes was found guilty of having sex with two schoolboys

Female teacher, 30, given one last chance to see baby after being found guilty of having sex with two schoolboys

Steve Buscemi

Man charged over random assault on actor Steve Buscemi in New York

Obit Dabney Coleman

Actor Dabney Coleman, who specialised in curmudgeons, dies aged 92

David DePape, 44, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US.

Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband with hammer sentenced to 30 years behind bars

Scottie Scheffler was detained by police near the PGA Championship course

World No1 golfer Scottie Scheffler 'in shock' after being arrested as he reveals he warmed up for US PGA in jail cell

Charles, Camilla and William will join forces to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

King Charles to make first overseas trip since cancer diagnosis for D-Day anniversary event with Camilla and William

Manchester Pride says its survey has found 45% of LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester are calling for more action to tackle hate crimes.

'Nearly half' of LGBTQ+ people calling for more action to tackle hate crimes, survey reveals

Dana Abuqamar, 19, has said she's had her student visa revoked

Palestinian student who faces deportation over October 7 comments insists she was not referring to Hamas

David DePape

Man convicted of attacking Nancy Pelosi’s husband with hammer sentenced to jail

France New Caledonia Unrest

Violence in New Caledonia subsides slightly as France sends in reinforcements